In today's issue of the Times of Malta, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, noted that some establishments, mainly in the hospitality sector, have failed to reopen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Chamber predicted a “series of closures” on the basis of research conducted among members.
Making reference also to coffee shops, restaurants and places of interest, it said that the Chamber attributed failure to reopen to the cost of rent and wages, particularly where businesses were not eligible for the government subsidy scheme.
The Chamber stated that “The majority of Malta Chamber members (75 per cent) do not foresee a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of business for their companies before March 2021, with only 25 per cent optimistic this could happen by end of year.”
Chamber President Perit David Xuereb said that “The mood of chamber members is still one of uncertainty, which, as we know, is the antithesis of confidence that businesses thrive on. While there is optimism from a number of sectors, several do not foresee they will be recovering the losses incurred during 2020 as most are in survival mode.”
“At a global level, the uncertainty surrounding people’s appetite for holidaying abroad has a direct bearing on Malta’s hospitality and tourism industry, affecting direct players and also on the satellite industries that supply them,” Xuereb added. On the other hand, Xuereb noted a “heightened sense of adaptation” throughout the crisis, mainly brought about by necessity.
The Malta Chamber also pointed out the importance of following guidelines issued by the health authorities not to jeopardise what had been achieved so far and expressed concern about the lack of public appreciation that “the pandemic is still with us”.